Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has revealed his support for former Ferrari team chief Jean Todt, joining other motorsport promoters as the FIA presidential race took another step towards its denouement
Ecclestone was quoted by Todt's campaign website as claiming that the Frenchman was 'by far the most knowledgeable and capable candidate', while World Rally Championship promoter Neil Duncanson, World Touring Car's Marcello Lotti and GT racing supremo Stephane Ratel all had positive comments.
“I have known Jean for many years," Ecclestone's eulogy read, "He is a most reliable, gifted and trustworthy person. He is determined and dedicated to whatever goals he sets himself and I admire and respect him greatly for everything he has achieved.
“The FIA needs a president that is strong, capable and with experience at the highest levels of motorsport. Jean is by far the most knowledgeable and capable candidate for this vitally important role. I hope everybody will support his candidacy.”
Todt goes up against former WRC champion Ari Vatanen in the battle to succeed Max Mosley at the head of international motorsport, but appears to have attracted the backing of some important individuals, all of whom refer to his experience and plans for the future.
"I have been very impressed with Jean's manifesto and his whole approach to the task ahead," ISC chairman Duncanson commented, "I especially like the idea of a WRC commissioner - someone empowered to cut through unnecessary bureaucracy. With the right structure in place, between us we can build WRC into something very special."
Lotti, general manager of WTCC promoter KSO, pointed to Todt's success as a leader in motorsport.
“Jean has a huge experience and passion for motorsport," the Italian claimed, "As a competitor and a manager, he has achieved so much success for himself and his teams. I know that Jean will bring the same success to the FIA and to the FIA's partners. I look forward to working with Jean as the next president of the FIA.”
Ratel, meanwhile, saw his fellow Frenchman as the perfect foil to SRO's plans to take GT racing onto the global stage.
“Jean has already set out his plans for the future of motor racing and I can only applaud the rational and well-thought out policies he has put forward so far," he wrote, "With GT racing set to become a world championship in 2010, it is important that the future of the sport is based on strong economic foundations, allowing independent teams the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Thanks to his experience with Ferrari, whose privately-entered cars have won 75 races in the FIA GT Championship since 2001, Jean understands this perfectly.”
The presidential election is scheduled for 23 October.